Can I Succeed in Real Estate?

Written by Walter Boomsma, instructor. See his blog.

As an instructor of pre-licensing courses, I’m of course intrigued and interested in the future of my students… I’ve not done any scientific analysis certainly–partly because success is one of those spongy terms that people actually get to define for themselves.

My sense is that many of the students who go on to achieve some level of success (defined here as staying at it for more than a year or two) do have some common characteristics:

1. Most have at least SOME experience in a service oriented job working with the public… waitressing, hair styling…they’ve learned a service mindset and how to deal with the public.

2. Most have a large degree of self-responsibility… they realize that success and failure are not things created by the brokerage company or employer.

3. Most have a good sense of self-awareness. It may not always be accurate (“Will there be a lot of math? I’m bad at math!”) but they are at least thinking about themselves and their skills. (As an instructor, one of my greatest joys is watching students discover they can do something they thought they couldn’t do.)

4. Most are almost obsessively curious… they WANT to know things well beyond the requirements for any state or course exam. I will always remember the returning licensee who matter-of-factly cited a large number of closings his first year. He later cited an equally large number of continuing education credits he’d earned even though they weren’t required. Gee, you don’t suppose there’s a correlation here, do you?

5. Most need to have savings or another source of income for the first three months living expenses. It takes two to three months of time to get ramped up and start having closings.

6. Most have a value system that forces them to put their clients’ needs consistently first and foremost.

Some would say you have to be an entrepreneur to be in real estate, but there is a difference between being self-employed and being in business and, at some level, successful people come to understand this… what I find interesting is that some  alumni start out being self-employed and end up with a business. But I also know licensees who’ve been at it for a lot of years who are really still just self-employed–they leave the business to the agency/brokerage, apply their social and interpersonal skills and make a good living. I’m not sure one approach is right and the other is wrong.

Can you succeed at real estate? For most the answer will be “yes,” once you determine how you will define that success.

Many recent students have said that they think it’s a great time to get started. They understand that while the market is tough, that also means they will have to truly earn the business and they’ll have time to learn and develop at a slow and deliberate pace. That makes a lot of sense if you think about it. We might illustrate this with a “learning to drive” example. Would you rather spend some time in class before getting behind the wheel or jump into a car that’s already traveling down the road at 50 miles per hour?

Classes are starting this fall!

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